Learning how to do squats correctly is one of the best things you can do to improve your fitness. This compound leg exercise is so effective and popular that it has spawned more than 20 variations.
The squat exercise is one of the first things that should go into any routine, regardless of your gender, fitness level, or your reason for training. But if you want those sexy legs and firm booty, you’ve got to stay healthy!
That’s why it’s important when learning how to squat that you know more than just proper form. You should also know the muscles worked, common mistakes, and how they’ll improve your everyday life — not just your appearance.
Below, you’ll find an excellent how to do squats video that will take you through the proper form. Once you’ve watched that, read on for more information that will erase any uncertainty you have about this incredible exercise for your legs!
Proper Squat Form
When it comes to squatting, proper form is important more than anything else. If you are a beginner, it may be a good idea to have a licensed trainer around to watch your form. Just 1-2 sessions can be plenty to get the assurance you need that you’re doing everything properly.
The squat movement begins with a standing position. Use of weights during squats is optional, so don’t be afraid to just your bodyweight. If you are going to just use bodyweight, you can hold your arms out in front of you to help your balance.
If you think you’re ready for weights, then you can hold dumbbells in your hands, or you can use a barbell which should rest behind your head on your upper shoulder area.
Now, let’s move on to how to do squats. Your feet should by slightly wider than shoulder width with your toes pointing just slightly outwards (away from each other).
Begin to lower yourself by bending your hips back while letting your knees come forward just a bit. Your back should stay straight and you should be keeping your entire core tight.
Keep lowering yourself until your thighs have gone just past parallel to the floor. Now, it is time to return to the starting squat position. Extend your knees and hips until your legs are straight, but do not lock out your knees. This completes 1 rep.
Common Squat Mistakes
- Knees going too far forward: If you value the health of your knees, imagine that there is an imaginary line extending vertically from the tips of your toes. Your knees should not pass this line during the squat movement. If you are having trouble, pretend that you are lowering yourself to sit on a chair. You can even use an actual chair or weight bench for safety if you’re just beginning.
- Descending too quickly: It’s an exercise, not a race! Lowering yourself too rapidly leads to much higher risk of injury or failing the lift.
- Not going deep enough: For the squat exercise to be effective, you must make sure you go deep enough. Remember that you should continue lowering yourself until your thighs have gone just past parallel to the floor. If you’re not able to do so, it’s probably time to lower the weight or just stick to bodyweight squats for a little while longer. Make your workout as effective as possible and check your ego at the door!
- Rounding your back: Remember that you should keep your core tight and your back straight during the movement. Rounding your back is dangerous and puts unnecessary stress on your discs.
What Muscles Squats Work
The squat works your entire lower body. You’ll primarily focus on your quadriceps (the front of your thighs), the hamstrings (the back), your glutes and your calves. Your abs and lower back will also get a workout.
How Squats Help You in Everyday Life
Apart from strengthening your core and increasing your lower body strength, squats also improve your posture and give you a flatter stomach. They define your legs and buttocks and increase mobility in your hips and ankles.
Squats will also improve your circulation and can even be good for your digestion. When it comes to toning, squats is considered to be one of the most effective exercises. In short, regular squat exercise gives you a healthy, strong, defined and toned body.
Image Credit: ehth
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